It’s that time of year

It’s the time of year where wine magazines publish their annual Top 100 lists. The most famous one among them is arguably Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list, which came out last Monday. Despite the large amount of critique that this list receives every year, in my opinion it’s a list with 100 pretty impressive wines. Are they the absolute best wines that were released this past year? Clearly not: a wine’s quality has certain objective components, but is also largely subjective, which means that my Top 100 list would differ from Wine Spectator’s, which in turn would differ from yours.

So the list reflects the opinions of Wine Spectator’s editors, using their criteria, which are:

  • Quality (represented by score)
  • Value (reflected by release price)
  • Availability (measured by cases made or imported)
  • The “X-factor”; the excitement generated by a rising-star producer, a benchmark wine or a significant milestone for a wine region

My main concern with the Wine Spectator Top 100 is that it contains several wines that I have come to enjoy quite regularly and which as the result of the widespread distribution of this list will now be harder to find or will jump up in price (or both!). Examples are the Descendientes de J. Palacios Bierzo Pétalos, which I have had a hard time tracking down since it made last year’s list, and the Calera Pinot Noir Central Coast, which used to cost $28 and now sits on the shelf for $40. In light of that, further propagating the list may not be the wisest move, but at the end of the day there’s some beautiful wines here that I can’t help but share.

All that being said, here then is a selection of wines on the list that are quite affordable and available in Alberta:

(Links will take you to Liquor Connect; by entering your postal code there you’ll be able to see where these wines are available near you)

You’ll notice that well-known regions like Bordeaux and California aren’t listed here. They are on the full Top 100 list (available here), but the wines representing those regions are somewhat more expensive than the above shortlist.


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